Preparing people for Customer Journey Orchestration: Getting started on CJO

How to get ready to implement customer journey orchestration. First: think about the people involved.

Customer Journey Orchestration (CJO) offers brands the ability to create omnichannel personalized experiences for consumers, which increases the likelihood of both initial conversions and long-term loyalty.  Doing this well requires a combination of people, process, and platforms working in harmony. This means that in order to understand how to be successful, we should look at it in terms of those three categories: people, processes, and platforms.

In this first article in a three-part series, I’m going to talk about the “people” component of preparing your organization for success with customer journey orchestration

After all, even though CJO involves plenty of technology integrations, anyone that has implemented it knows that there are team members — people— behind the important work of both initial implementation and realizing its potential.

Let’s explore this by looking at five critical teams or groups of people whose participation will be necessary for success.

Alignment with leadership

First, let’s talk about leadership’s role in successful CJO implementation. Planning, implementing, and continually improving CJO often requires big changes in process, resources, and expected outcomes. Because of this, leadership support is needed to make these big changes happen.

Make sure you have an executive or leadership sponsor for your CJO effort. You will inevitably run into some roadblocks or areas where support from an executive will go a long way to getting things unstuck.

Ensure you are on the same page as your executive leadership. Having mismatched expectations on goals, timing, costs, and long-term resource requirements will at best cause frustrations, and at worst they will waste valuable time and resources to reconcile.

One way to help align expectations is to keep that leader in the loop on a continuous basis. Ensure they are apprised of the latest status, notify them when you hit any current or potential blockers, and share your “wins” with them so they can communicate to other leaders. Chances are, you’re going to need stakeholders in several areas of the business to support you.

Leadership support is critical to both the short- and the long-term success of your CJO initiative. Don’t underestimate this as you proceed.

Marketing and customer experience teams

The teams that CJO has the biggest impact on are going to be those tasked with marketing and customer communication. Depending on your organization, you may have separate marketing and customer experience (CX) teams, or there may be overlap. Regardless, CJO can provide a tremendous help to new customer acquisition, growth and engagement of current customers, and assistance with customer retention and support issues.

Keep in mind that CJO often requires closer collaboration among teams and disciplines within the area of marketing and CX. This means that if your email team and your website team are siloed, they’re going to need to start working together more closely, because orchestration works best when teams are coordinating their messaging — and it often requires it.

You will also need to determine who, or which role, will be responsible for designing and managing your customer journeys. In some cases, this might be a similar role to those who are planning your campaigns, and in others this might be an entirely new role you need to create.

To get started, look at your current collaboration tools and methods of coordinating cross-channel campaigns and determine if they will continue to work for you. Will you need to change the way you coordinate your teams and their campaign and content creation if customer journeys are introduced.

Finally, even if you’ve done it relatively recently, go through the process of mapping your customer journeys again with orchestration in mind. In addition to the customer perspective, pay special attention to the systems, data, and teams involved at different stages of the journey. You’d be surprised at how beneficial this is, even if you  feel like you understand your customers’ journeys pretty well already.

Marketing and CX teams are the lifeblood of CJO. These teams are necessary for driving strategy and continual improvements over time.

Data and engineering teams

Customer journey orchestration is also going to involve your data and engineering teams. Their involvement may be more significant in early stages than in later ones — after all, part of the benefits of CJO is to put the power of orchestration in the hands of marketing professionals — but they will be involved throughout, regardless.

As you go through the planning process for your CJO implementation, there are a few questions to ask, including the following:

  • What data will be needed to make CJO successful and where is this data currently housed?
  • How frequently will new data need to be requested and are there processes in place to make sourcing this data easy?
  • What are both short- and long-term engineering needs for CJO? Are the roles currently in place or do they need to be hired or outsourced?

Then, to continue to put in place the right pieces with your data and engineering teams, work collaboratively and ensure you are sharing the big picture with them. This includes getting stakeholders from data and engineering on board with CJO from the start.

Your data and engineering teams are key to successful implementation, and their involvement early on will ensure that the daily users of your new CJO platform will have the tools they need at their disposal.

Customer service

Just as marketing and CX teams will be instrumental in shaping the acquisition, education, and engagement portions of a customer’s journey, your customer service team will be critical to shaping a journey that helps customers precisely when they need help.

Consider the following as you collaborate with your customer service team to plan CJO so that it can benefit both the marketing goals as well as the customer support and overall CX goals:

  • How do recent service/support interactions affect a customer’s propensity to buy, and how might this affect the types of content and offers you orchestrate (and when)?
  • How can orchestration support customer service by proactively “solving” potential problems or questions that a customer might have?

Some initial steps you can take with your customer services include having a close collaboration to discuss common issues and potential problem areas and to brainstorm about potential opportunities. In the type of real-time environment that CJO allows, customer support can be a key ally to keep customers satisfied and engaged.

The sales team

Last but not least, let’s not forget about sales teams. After all, depending on your organization, your sales team may be directly in touch with your customers while they are also enrolled in an automated customer journey. This is particularly important in a B2B environment, where there is a high-touch sales process, but it can apply to B2C as well.

Make sure the sales team knows about automated flows that you are including in your CJO so that they can be aware when they do their one-on-one outreach. It is also advised that you work with sales to talk about and brainstorm when is a personal touch, versus orchestration, the right choice — and vice versa.

As with the other teams we’ve discussed, healthy collaboration is key to create an ongoing dialogue and to talk through potential challenges and opportunities.

Coordination with your sales team can make the difference between potential customer confusion and a harmonious CJO experience.


Customer journey orchestration takes the alignment and coordination of several teams in order to be successful. Ensuring this alignment from the start will yield the best results, and ensure everyone is on board with this new method of reaching and engaging your customers. 

In the next article, I’m going to discuss considerations regarding processes when preparing for a CJO implementation.

The post Preparing people for Customer Journey Orchestration: Getting started on CJO appeared first on MarTech.


About The Author

Greg Kihlström is a best-selling author, speaker, and entrepreneur, currently an advisor and consultant to top companies on customer experience, employee experience, and digital transformation initiatives as Principal and Chief Strategist at GK5A. He is also the host of The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. He is a two-time CEO and Co-Founder, growing both companies organically and through acquisitions, and ultimately leading both to be acquired (one in 2017, and the other in 2021). As a strategist, digital transformation, and customer experience advisor, he has worked with some of the world’s top brands, including AOL, Choice Hotels, Coca-Cola, Dell, FedEx, GEICO, Marriott, MTV, Starbucks, Toyota, and VMware.